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9 Steps to a Happier Gut

ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES

World Digestive Health awareness day 2023

World Digestive Health Day 2023 focusses on the theme of ‘a healthy gut from the start’. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy diet in lifelong digestive health.

This blog will dive into how you can keep your gut in tip-top shape.

Why is Gut Health so Important?

Your gut dictates health all around your body. Apart from obtaining vital nutrients from your food, your gut is home to your inner ecosystem of bacteria, comprising trillions of organisms. These microbes, known as your microbiome, control your immune system function, regulate inflammation and interact closely with your brain. It’s easy to take your gut for granted and overlook the warning symptoms when it’s struggling. But it will send you signs it’s crying for help, like bloating, cramping or irregularity, or wider gut-driven issues including allergies, autoimmune issues, skin problems, brain fog or joint pain. If your gut is grumbling, try these simple strategies to improve digestive health.
  • Give Your Gut a Rest
If your gut is constantly working digesting food, it won’t have a chance to rest and repair. Simply extending the gap between dinner and breakfast will give it a natural break. Have an early dinner – say at 5/6pm, and try to leave at least 16 hours until you eat again, having breakfast at 9/10am.
  • Start Your Day with Water and Lemon
A glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon wakes up your gut and kickstarts your liver, which works in tandem with a healthy digestive system.
  • Shun Sugar
Sugar is enemy number one of a healthy gut because it feeds the types of bacteria causing havoc in your microbiome. Opt for unrefined carbohydrates with their fibre intact, like brown rice, beans and vegetables. Although fruit contains sugar, it’s accompanied by the natural fibre and nutrients in the fruit. So it’s better to eat the intact whole fruit, rather than crushed into a smoothie or as a sugar-rich juice. Berry fruits are relatively low in sugar and chock full of beneficial antioxidants.
  • Sleep
Research has found poor quality sleep causes disturbances in the gut microbiome 1. One of the most constructive actions you can take with regard to sleep is to go to bed at a similar time each evening. And wind down! This means no screens for at least two hours before bed. They emit blue light, upsetting your body clock.
  • Feast on Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir have been used to support gut health for thousands of years. They contain millions of bacteria which create a favourable environment in your intestines for your gut own bacteria to thrive.
  • Choose the Right Type of Fibre
All fibre is not created equal. Certain plant foods are particularly rich in so-called prebiotic fibre, food for gut bacteria. These include flax seeds, chia seeds, leeks, artichokes, garlic, onions, apples, legumes and beans.
  • Manage Your Stress
Stress has a profound effect on your gut. It alters your gut microbiome and wrecks your immune system. In addition, stress makes your digestive lining more permeable 2, so it’s less effective at allowing beneficial substances through into your bloodstream and keeping unwanted substances out. Reducing the stress in your life is easier said than done, but you do have the power to change how you react to stress. This involves learning techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness, and using tools including yoga and meditation. Start your day tomorrow with just five minutes of meditation and ten minutes of yoga. Over time, I guarantee you’ll be tempted to do longer.
  • Consider Probiotics
Probiotics are supplements containing concentrated forms of certain types of live, beneficial bacteria which may be missing from your gut. They can be helpful along with gut-friendly eating to restore balance to your intestines. Your practitioner can recommend a suitable probiotic for you.
  • Reduce Wheat
How many times did you eat wheat yesterday? It’s massively widespread in the modern diet, and many people’s guts struggle with the sheer amount consumed. Gluten intolerance is widely blamed, but in many cases, the problem is simply eating too much wheat. Modern wheat has been selectively developed to contain huge amounts of gluten. This is a tricky protein to digest and can cause your digestive lining to become permeable. But don’t be tempted to reach for alternatives like gluten-free bread and cookies. These are highly processed and contain altered grains and modified fats. Instead of a sandwich at lunchtime, opt for a colourful salad with beans. packed full of beneficial nutrients and fibre.

Personalised Support for a Healthy Gut

Everyone is different, and your gut may need extra tender loving care. With the support of a therapist who can recommend appropriate functional tests for you, a clear picture will emerge of where your digestive system needs some additional attention. Contact me today to start your journey to better digestive health.

References

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Do you need support for your digestive system and gut health? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.

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